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>From:    Rosann Rookey <[log in to unmask]>
> Even today there are lively discussions because some districts "teach to
>the test."  A regents program is similar to a liberal arts program because
>everyone must have so many units (credits) in subjects.  No one can
>graduate without 4 years of English, ....   .foreign language... .  I
>can't remember all of it.  If you do not pass the regents exam, you do not
>pass the course.
----

Actually, this is not quite right. I believe if you failed the Regents'
Exam, you would not receive Regents' credit for the course but you could
still pass the course on your average. In the early '80s, tuition credits
to NYState schools were awarded to encourage the students to stay in state.
By the time I graduated with a Regents' diploma in '85 the money awarded
was less than $100 and now it is not offered. The designation meant that I
had taken x amount of credit hours in Regents' courses successfully. They
included mathematics, science, English,  social studies, and foreign
languages.

Yes, the teachers taught to the test. And the state also sold Regents'
review books (which every student had to buy for >$4) which was nothing
more than the old tests from the past 4 or 5 years. The tests used to be
all multiple choice with a couple of proofs (in geometry) or multi-part
questions (in sciences) and essays (in English and SStudies). I believe the
format has drifted more to open ended type questions.

To address another list members comments about which students are taking
these exams, I am from upstate NY (go Bills!!) and it was more the norm for
us suburban kids to be in Regents' courses than not to be. There were more
sections of them offered than the 'general' sections. This may say more
about the type of school, however, than the courses themselves.

Andrea Motyka

Director of Math Center
Washington College
Chestertown, MD 21620
410.778.7862